• Young Driver Test - Day 1

Big difference between 2011 and 2012 tyres - Wickens

ESPNF1 Staff
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Robert Wickens will drive for Virgin on day three in Abu Dhabi © Sutton Images
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Robert Wickens said that he was surprised at the difference in tyre compound between the 2011 and prototype 2012 Pirelli tyres.

Wickens was driving for Renault on the opening day of the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi having driven for Virgin during Free Practice 1 on Friday ahead of the grand prix. With both the 2011 and 2012 compounds available to the teams during the Young Driver Test they are able to directly compare the rubber as Pirelli evaluates its current prototypes for next season.

After completing 77 laps on his way to the third fastest time of the day, Wickens said that he hadn't expected to notice such a difference between the two specifications of tyre.

"I was surprised how different the Pirelli Prototype 2012 was compared to the normal 2011 tyre," Wickens said. "I did a long run at the end with heavy fuel and I was able to do a very consistent 20 lap run towards the end of the day on the soft tyre, which is a good sign for next year I think.

"It's the first time I've been able to do consistent, long runs and to really start understanding the tyres ... I'm glad I was able to drive in a car that put me towards the top of the grid. I was hoping to be in the top three today and to be third is really good ... I trained very hard all season, prepared for this young drivers test and I'm very proud of myself. I just wish I could stay a couple more days."